WHANGERAI (New Zealand): Shaheen Shah Afridi’s display of traditional fast-bowling saw him claim a six-wicket haul as Pakistan put their ICC Under-19 World Cup campaign back on track with a nine-wicket win over Ireland here on Tuesday.
Back in action for the first time since Saturday when Afghanistan shocked the 2004 and 2006 champions by five wickets, Pakistan put up a clinical performance to keep alive their Super League aspirations.
Afridi’s incredible return of six for 15 in just 8.5 overs, including three maidens, was the best ever return for Pakistan in a World Cup, as Ireland were bundled out for 97 at the Cobham Oval.
Put into bat in overcast conditions, Ireland struggled from the onset as Afridi unleashed a short-ball barrage after Arshad Iqbal made the initial breakthrough.
Afridi had Mark Topping poking outside off for his first wicket, and then followed that up with the scalp of Ireland captain Harry Tector, who after being peppered with short balls eventually top-edged to the ‘keeper.
Jamie Grassi, Ireland’s in-form batsman, was caught behind to leave his team in dire straits at 34-4. Sam Murphy and Neil Rock then combined for a 30-run stand that raised Irish hopes of a comeback. They did well to stand up to the short stuff, and Rock in particular carried on bravely after taking one on the face, just below his helmet grille.
They inched the total past the 50-run mark, but Pakistan weren’t to be denied for long. Skipper Hassaan Khan introduced himself and had Rock dismissed with just his second ball — the attempted the sweep went straight to the fielder at short square leg.
Afridi then returned and mixed up his short-deliveries with yorkers to dismantle the rest of the Ireland lower order, along with Hassaan.
Graham Kennedy was bowled for a duck by Afridi, while Hassaan found the gap between Murphy’s bat and pad, ending his valiant 40-ball stay in the middle. Hassaan then had Reece Kelly dismissed for nought for his third wicket before Afridi had both Aaron Cawley and Max Neville bowled to finish off the innings.
All the while, Joshua Little looked to muscle Ireland past the 100-mark with a couple of meaty fours. He ended unbeaten on a 20-ball 24, but Ireland needed a lot more of that on the day.
Pakistan began chase brightly by taking 13 runs in the opening over and despite losing Rohail Nazir (18), they hardly looked in trouble as Zaid Alam (43 off 19 balls) and Hassaan Khan (27 off 21) added a quick 53 to complete the job in just 8.5 overs.
Zaid brought up the winning runs in style with a pull for six over square leg.
Ireland were understandably distraught.
Meanwhile, India marched to their second straight victory after dismissing Papua New Guinea for only 64 at the Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui.
Slow left-armer Anukul Roy snared figures of 5-14 in 6.5 overs to his side shot out Papua New Guinea for 64.
Skipper Prithvi Shaw then bludgeoned 12 boundaries in making 57 from 39 balls as the Indians romped to victory in eight overs.
Result of other match:
At Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui: India beat Papua New Guinea by 10 wickets.
PAPUA NEW GUINEA 64 in 21.5 overs (O.L. Sam 15; A.S. Roy 5-15, Shivam Mavi 2-16); INDIA 67-0 in 8 overs (P.P. Shaw 57 not out).
J. Grassi c Rohail b Afridi 13
M. Donegan c Taha b Arshad 11
M. Topping c Rohail b Afridi 2
H. Tector c Rohail b Afridi 3
S. Murphy b Hassaan 19
N. Rock c Zaryab b Hassaan 8
G. Kennedy b Afridi 0
J. Little not out 24
R. Kelly b Hassaan 0
A. Cawley b Afridi 0
M. Neville b Afridi 0
EXTRAS (B-1, LB-10, W-5, NB-1) 17
TOTAL (all out, 28.5 overs) 97
FALL OF WKTS: 1-20, 2-22, 3-34, 4-34, 5-64, 6-65, 7-67, 8-73, 9-77.
BOWLING: Arshad Iqbal 5-0-12-1 (2w); Ali Zaryab 2-0-14-0 (1w); Shaheen Shah Afridi 8.5-3-15-6 (1w); Mohammad Musa 6-1-17-0 (1nb, 1w); Suleman Shafqat 3-0-12-0; Hassaan Khan 4-0-16-3.
Zaid Alam not out 43
Rohail Nazir c Neville b Cawley 18
Hassaan Khan not out 27
EXTRAS (W-9, NB-1) 10 TOTAL (for one wkt, 8.5 overs) 98
FALL OF WKT: 1-45.
DID NOT BAT: Ammad Alam, Ali Zaryab, Mohammad Taha, Saad Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Mohammad Musa, Suleman Shafqat, Arshad Iqbal.
Bowling: Cawley 3-0-27-1 (1nb, 2w); Little 2-0-24-0; Kelly 2-0-25-0; Neville 1.5-0-22-0 (3w).
RESULT: Pakistan won by nine wickets.
UMPIRES: R.J. Bailey (England) and C.K. Nandan (India).
MATCH REFEREE: D.T. Jukes (England).
MAN-OF-THE-MATCH: Shaheen Shah Afridi.